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^ociety of the Army and f^avy of 
the (Confederate ^tates 


On January 19th, 1894, at the Academ)- of Music, 
Baltimore, Md,, 


A. p. C. and Military Secretary to Gen'l R. B. LEE. 












^ociety of the P^xmj and f^avy of 
the (Confederate ^t^tes 


On January 19th, 1894, at the Academy of Music, 
Baltimore, Md,, 



A. D. C. and Military Secretary to Gen'l R. E. LfiE. 


PRESS 01!' 







When old soldiers and sailors meet for a talk about the 
war, it must be admitted that they sometimes forget the 
reverence due the divinity commonly spoken of as the God- 
dess of Truth. 

For my part, I have heard events that occurred under my 
own eyes described in such a way that I failed to recognize 

- A distinguished Confederate officer who was dangerously 
wounded in one of the battles in Virginia, but not having 
lost consciousness remembered those who bore him from the 
field, told me that if all the men who had claimed that they 
assisted in that charitable work had been present in fact on 
the occasion and had taken part in the engagement the odds 
as to numbers would have been greatly in favor of the Con- 
federate army. In fact, some of the war stories 1 have heard 
remind me of an anecdote General Lee once told me of 
General Zachary Taylor. 

I was in General Lee's tent one day just before the battle 
of Chancellorsville, when an officer who had been with a 
scouting party came in with a report. The report was not 
a little affected by the excitement that usually begins to be 
felt when an engagement is impending, and did not in the 
least understate the number of the enemy that the scouting 


party had seen. General Lee listened very quietly and at- 
tentively to the narrative, which bore on its face evidence of 
its own want of probability, though the narrator may have 
believed it to be accurate. When the officer left the tent 
General Lee said in his grave way : 

^'That report reminds me of something I heard General 
Taylor say, when I was with his army in Mexico, before I 
joined General Scott's, As we advanced into the interior of 
the country, there were rumours of the approach of General 
Santa Anna with an overwhelming force, and there was more 
or less excitement and anxiety on the subject. No considerable 
force of Mexicans had in fact been seen, and the alleged 
army of Santa Anna was left to the imagination, which 
always exaggerates the unknown and unseen. One day a 
cavalry officer came to General Taylor and reported that he 
had seen 20,000 Mexicans, with 250 pieces of artillery. Gen- 
eral Taylor said to him : ' Captain, do you say that you saw 
that force ? ' The captain asserted that he had seen it. 
Thereupon General Taylor remarked : ' Captain, if you say 
you saw it, of course I must believe it, but I would not have 
believed it if I had seen it myself.' " 

This tendency to exaggerate and invent in describing 
events that excite great interest, and particularly such as ap- 
peal to the feelings and passions of men, makes itself felt 
long after the events have occurred, and impairs the value of 
history. We do not yet know with certainty the facts of 
the battle of Waterloo, and as to Chancellorsville and Get- 
tysburg, although I witnessed both, I sometimes think, in 
view of the absolutely irreconcilable accounts we have of 
those two engagements, a Bishop Whately might readily 
create historic doubts as to whether either was in fact fought. 

I am the more impressed with the want of accuracy in 
the accounts of military operations by my experience during 


the late war. It was my duty to prepare the reports of 
General Lee under his directions. To do this, as he required 
it to be done, I had first to read all the reports made by the 
diflferent commanding" officers, who always forwarded the 
reports of all their subordinates, down to company com- 
manders. From all these 1 prepared a statement with great 
detail, of course using such information as 1 possessed from 
my personal knowledge and observation as a staff officer, 
and from orders and correspondence. 

One of the most difficult things I had to do was to recon- 
cile the many conflicting accounts of the same affair. Some- 
times this was impossible, and when the matter was impor- 
tant enough to warrant it, 1 was required to visit the authors 
of the conflicting reports or they were brought together and 
required to reconcile or explain their respective narratives. 
After exhausting every means to attain entire accuracy, a 
more general report of the whole was prepared and sub- 
mitted to General Lee, who made such corrections as he 
thought proper, and directed the omission of such things as 
he deemed unnecessary for a clear understanding of the 
subject, and the report thus verified and corrected was then 
written for his signature. 

One who has had this experience can appreciate the 
different ways in which the same thing presents itself to 
different minds, especially when the description is written 
long after the event, and in the midst of the distractions 
incident to active service. Yet it is from such sources as 
these that the details of military operations must be derived 
by the historian. 

If I may be permitted to dwell a little on this subject, I 
desire to say that much of this confusion and contradiction 
of statement is due to the fact that the narrators of such 
things do not always confine themselves strictly to the state- 





ment as to what they did themselves, but are much disposed 
to include in their reports what they think was done or 
omitted to be done by others. 

I remember a striking illustration of this which occurred 
during the battle of Fredericksburg. 

Fighting on that occasion took place on the right and left 
of the Confederate Army, its centre not having been 
engaged at all. General Longstreet on the Confederate left 
had repulsed the repeated attacks made on the troops posted 
at the foot of Marye's Hill, and General Jackson had 
repulsed the assault made on our right near Hamilton's 
Crossing. The distance between the two scenes of combat 
was between three and four miles. 

In the afternoon I was sent to the right with an order 
to General Jackson, and while looking for him I came 
across General D. H. Hill, who commanded a division in 
Jackson's corps. As soon as he saw me General Hill 
exclaimed '' Well, it is just as usual. This corps does all 
the fighting. Those fellows on the left haven't fired a shot 
all day, except some little artillery firing." I oflPered, with 
great respect, to bet the General a very large apple that 
" the fellows on the left " could show two dead in their 
front for every one that ''the fellows on the right " could 
show. Nearly fifteen hundred Federal dead lay in front of 
Marye's Hill, and General Hill did not know that there had 
been any fighting there. 

With the full knowledge of this tendency to error I now 
present to you as accurately as I can the facts of the 
surrender of General Lee at Appomattox, about which you 
have asked me to talk to you on this occasion when we are 
met to celebrate his birthday. 

Had you not designated the subject of my remarks I 

ight have chosen another for this occasion, but I confess 


that I know of no other event in his life which more 
strongly illustrates some of the great qualities that adorned 
his character. I shall present our great chieftain to you, 
as well as I can, as he appeared under adverse fortunes, and 
shall endeavor to show you how he bore himself. 

I shall begin my narrative with the opening of the corre- 
spondence between General Lee and General Grant. 

After the disaster of Sailor's Creek, the army, reduced to 
two corps under the command of General Longstreet and 
General Gordan, moved through Farmville, where rations 
were issued to some of the starving troops. A close pursuit 
of the overwhelming army of General Grant made it neces- 
sary to remove the wagon trains before all the men could be 
supplied, and the remnant of the great Army of Northern 
Virginia, exhausted by fight and starvation, moved in the 
road to Appomattox Courthouse. On the afternoon of the 
7th of April, 1865, General Grant sent to General Lee the 
first letter. It read : — 

April 7, 1865. 
Gen. R. E. Lee, Commanding C. S. A. : 

General — The result of the last week must convince you 
of the hopelessness of further resistance on the part of the 
Army of Northern Virginia in this struggle. I feel that it is 
so, and regard it as my duty to shift from myself the respon- 
sibility of any further effusion of blood by asking of you 
the surrender of that portion of the Confederate States 
Army known as the Army of Northern Virginia. Very 
respectfully, your obedient servant, 

U. S. Grant, Lieutenant-General. 

There was some difference of opinion among the general 
officers as to the nature of the reply to be made to General 
Grant's letter, some thinking that it was yet possible to save 


the remnant of the army. Finally, General Lee decided to 
send the following answer to General Grant's letter : — 

April 7, 1865. 
General — 

I have received your note of this date. Though not en- 
tertaining the opinion you express of the hopelessness of 
further resistance on the part of the Army of Northern 
Virginia, I reciprocate your desire to avoid useless effusion 
of blood, and therefore, before considering your proposition, 
ask the terms you will offer on condition of its surrender. 
Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

R. E. Lee, General. 

To Lieut.-Gen. U. S. Grant, Commanding Armies of the 
United States. 

The next day General Grant replied as follows : — 

April 8, 1865. 
Gen. R. E. Lee, Commanding C. S. A. : 

General — Your note of last evening in reply to mine of 
same date, asking the conditions on which I will accept the 
surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia, is just received. 
In reply, I would say that, peace being my great desire, there 
is but one condition that I insist upon, namely, that the men 
and officers surrendered shall be disqualified for taking up 
arms again against the Government of the United States, 
until properly exchanged. 

I will meet you, or will designate officers to meet any 
officers you name for the same purpose, at any point agree- 
able to you, for the purpose of arranging definitely the terms 
upon which the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia 
will be received. Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 
U. S. Grant, Lieutenant-General. 


It will be observed that General Grant, in this letter, 
manifested that delicate consideration for his great adversary 
which marked all his subsequent conduct toward him. He 
offered to have the terms of the capitulation arranged by 
officers to be appointed for the purpose by himself and 
General Lee, thus sparing the latter the pain and mortifi- 
cation of conducting personally the arrangements for the 
surrender of his army. 

I have no doubt that this proposition proceeded from the 
sincere desire of General Grant to do all in his power to 
spare the feelings of General Lee, but it is not unworthy of 
remark that when Lord Cornwallis opened his correspon- 
dence with General Washington, which ended in the surren- 
der at Yorktown, his lordship proposed in his letter of Octo- 
ber 17, 1781, "a cessation of hostilities for 24 hours, and 
that two officers may be appointed by each side to meet 
at Mr. Moore's house to settle terms for the surrender of the 
posts of York and Gloucester." 

In view of this letter, and of the fact that Cornwallis 
declined to attend the ceremony of the surrender of his 
army, deputing General O'Hara to represent him on that 
occasion, it is very plain that his lordship shrunk from 
sharing with his army the humiliation of surrender. 
. General Grant's letter oifered General Lee an oppor- 
tunity to avoid the trial to which the British commander 
felt himself unequal. But General Lee was made of 
different stuff. It is not without interest to recall what 
General Lee's father, Light Horse Harry Lee, says of the 
conduct of Cornwallis at Yorktown. 

In '' Lee's (Light Horse Harry's) Memoirs of the War," 
the author, who was a witness of all that occurred, says : 

" Every eye was turned searching for the British Com- 
mander-inXhief, anxious to look at that man, heretofore so 


much the object of their dread. All were disappointed. 
Cornwallis held himself back from the humiliating scene, 
obeying emotions which his great character ought to have 
stifled. He had been unfortunate; not from any false step 
or deficiency on his part, but from the infatuated policy of 
his superior and the united power of his enemy brought to 
bear upon him alone. There was nothing with which he 
could reproach himself; there was nothing with which he 
could reproach his brave and faithful army ; why not, then, 
appear at its head in the day of its misfortune, as he had 
always done in the day of triumph? The British general 
in this instance deviated from his general line of conduct, 
dimming the splendour of his long and brilliant career." 

Little did the father think when he wrote these words 
that he was marking the arduous path of duty along which 
his son was one day to be called upon to walk. That son 
was worthy of such a father and of such teaching. 

As I said on another occasion : "Through the pain and 
humiliation of his position his great career about to close 
in defeat, and all that he had done about to be made 
unavailing, he saw the path of duty and he trod it with as 
firm a step and as brave a heart and as lofty a mien as if 
it had been the Way of Triumph." 

The march was continued during the 8th of April with 
little interruption from the enemy, and in the evening we 
halted near Appomattox Courthouse, General Lee intend- 
ing to march by way of Campbell Courthouse, through 
Pittsylvania county, toward Danville, with a view of open- 
ing communication with the army of General Joseph E. 
Johnston, then retreating before General Sherman through 
North Carolina. General Lee's purpose was to unite with 
General Johnston to attack Sherman or call Johnston to his 
aid in resisting Grant, whichever might be found best. The 


exhausted troops were halted for rest on the evening of 
the 8th of April near Appomattox Courthouse, and the 
march was ordered to be resumed at 1 o'clock a. m. 1 can 
convey a good idea of the condition of affairs by telling my 
own experience. 

When the army halted on the night of the 8th, General 
Lee and his staff turned out of the road into a dense wood 
to seek some rest. The General had a conference with 
some of the principal officers, at which it was determined 
to try to force our way the next morning with the troops 
of Gordon, supported by the cavalry under General Fitz 
Lee, the command of Longstreet bringing up the rear, with 
my comrades of the staff, and staff officers of General 
Longstreet and General Gordon, I sought a little much- 
needed repose. 

We lay upon the ground near the road, with our saddles 
for pillows, our horses picketed near by, eating the bark of 
trees for want of better provender, our faces covered with 
the capes of our overcoats to keep out the night air. Soon 
after 1 o'clock I was aroused by the sound of a column of 
infantry marching along the road. We were so completely 
surrounded by the swarming forces of General Grant that 
at first when I awoke I thought the passing column might 
be Federal soldiers. 

I raised my head and listened intently. My doubts 
were quickly dispelled. I recalled the order to resume the 
march at that early hour and knew that the troops I heard 
were moving forward to endeavour to force our way through 
the lines of the enemy at Appomattox Courthouse. I soon 
knew that the command that was passing consisted in part 
at least of Hood's old Texas brigade. 

It was called the Texas Brigade, although it was at 
times composed in part of regiments from other States. 


Sometimes there was a Mississippi regiment* 'sometimes an 
Arkansas regiment and sometimes a Georgia regiment 
mingled with the Texans, but all the strangers called them- 
selves Texans and all fought like Texans. 

On this occasion I recognized these troops as they passed 
along the road in the dead of night by hearing one of 
them repeat the Texan version of a passage of Scripture 
with which I was familiar — I mean with the Texan version. 
You will readily recall the original text when 1 repeat the 
Texan rendition of it that fell upon my ear as I lay in the 
woods by the roadside that dark night. The version was 
as follows : 

"The race is not to them that's got 

The longest legs to run, 
Nor the battel to that peopel 

That shoots the biggest gun. 

This simple confession of faith assured me that the 
immortal brigade of Hood's Texans was marching to battle 
in the darkness. 

Soon after they passed we were all astir and our bivouac 
was at an end. We made our simple toilet, consisting 
mainly of putting on our caps and saddling our horses. 
We then proceeded to look for something to satisfy our 
now ravenous appetites. 

Somebody had a little cornmeal, and somebody else had 
a tin can, such as is used to hold hot water for shaving. A 
fire was kindled, and each man in his turn, according to 
rank and seniority, made a can of cornmeal gruel and was 
allowed to keep the can until the gruel became cool enough 
to drink. General Lee, who reposed, as we had done, not 
far from us, did not, as far as I remember, have even such 
refreshments as I have described. 


This was our last meal in the Confederacy. Our next 
was taken in the United States, and consisted mainly of a 
generous portion of that noble American animal whose 
strained relations with the great Chancellor of the German 
Empire made it necessary at last for the President of the 
United States to send an Ohio man to the Court of Berlin. 

"Tantas componere lites." 

As soon as we had all had our turn at the shaving can 
we rode toward Appomattox Courthouse, when the sound 
of guns announced that Gordon had already begun the 
attempt to open the way. 

He forced his way through the cavalry of the enemy only 
to encounter a force of infantry far superior to his own 
wearied and starving command. He informed General Lee 
that it was impossible to advance further, and it became 
evident that the end was at hand. 

General Lee had replied to the letter of General Grant 
of the 8th of April, which I have read, as follows : — 

April 8, 1865. 

To Lieutenant-General U. S. Grant, Commanding Armies 
of the United States : 

General— I received at a late hour your note of to-day. 
In mine of yesterday I did not intend to propose the sur- 
render of the Army of Northern Virginia, but to ask the 
terms of your proposition. To be frank, I do not think the 
emergency has arisen to call for the surrender of this army ; 
but as the restoration of peace should be the sole object of 
all, I desire to know whether your proposals will lead to that 
end. I cannot, therefore, meet you with a view to sur- 
render the Army of Northern Virginia; but as far as your 
proposal may affect the Confederate States' forces under 
my command, and tend to the restoration of peace, I should 


be pleased to meet you at 10 a. m. to-morrow, on the old 
stage road to Richmond, between the picket lines of the 
two armies. Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

R. E. Lee, General. 

No reply to this letter had been received when early on 
the morning- of April 9 General Lee arrived near Appo- 
mattox Courthouse, which was occupied by the enemy. 

According to the proposal contained in his letter to General 
Grant of the 8th of April, General Lee, attended by myself, 
and with one orderly, proceeded down the old stage road 
to Richmond to meet General Grant, and while riding to 
the rear for this purpose he received the message of General 
Gordon that his andvance was impossible without reinforce- 
ments. We rode through the rear guard of the army, com- 
posed of the remnants of Longstreet's corps. They had 
thrown up substantial breastworks of logs across the roads 
leading to the rear, and cheered General Lee as he passed 
in the way they had cheered many a time before. Their 
confidence and enthusiasm were not one whit abated by 
defeat, hunger and danger. It was lucky for the Secretary 
of the Treasury that this rear guard was not permitted to 
try its hand at increasing the pension roll with which he 
is now struggling. Those men made no fraudulent pen- 
sioners. When they were done with a man, he or his 
representatives had an indisputable claim to a pension under 
any kind of a pension law. But soon as General Lee 
received the report of General Gordon as to the state of 
affairs in front, he directed that officer to ask for a suspen- 
sion of hostilities and proceeded at once to meet General 

General Lee, with an orderly in front bearing a flag of 
truce, had proceeded but a short distance after passing 


through our rear guard when we came upon the skirmish 
line of the enemy andvancing to the attack. 

I went forward to meet a Federal officer who soon after- 
ward made his appearance coming toward our party.. This 
officer proved to be Lieutenant-Colonel Whittier of the 
staff of the late General Humphreys, whose division was 
immediately in our rear, and Colonel Whittier delivered to 
me General Grant's reply to the letter of General Lee of 
April 8, which I have read, declining to meet General Lee 
to discuss the terms of a general pacification on the ground 
that General Grant possessed no authority to deal with the 

April 9, 1865. 

To General R. E. Lee, Commanding C. S. A.: 

General — Your note of yesterday is received. As I have 
no authority to treat on the subject of peace, the meeting 
proposed for 10 a. m. to-day could lead to no good. I will 
state, however. General, that I am equally anxious for peace 
with yourself, and the whole North entertains the same feel- 
ing. The terms upon which peace can be had are well 
understood. By the South laying down their arms they 
will hasten that most desirable event, save thousands of 
human lives and hundreds of millions of property not yet 

Sincerely hoping that all our difficulties may be settled 
without the loss of another life, I subscribe myself, very 
respectfully, your obedient servant, 

U. S. Grant, Lieutenant-General. 

1 took this letter of General Grant back to General Lee, 
who was a short distance from the spot, where I met 
Colonel Whittier, and General Lee at once dictated the letter 


of April 9 to General Grant, which I wrote and gave to 
Colonel Whittier. That letter is as follows : — 

Headquarters Army, Northern Virginia, 
April 9, 1865. 

Lieut. -Gen. U. S. Grant, Commanding- United States 
Armies : 

General — I received your note this morning in the picket 
line, whither I had come to meet you and ascertain definitely 
what terms were embraced in your proposition of yesterday 
with reference to the surrender of this army. 

I now request an interview in accordance with the offer 
contained in your letter of yesterday for that purpose. 
Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

R. E Lee, General. 

When I placed thii, letter in the hands of Colonel Whittier 
I saw indications that the Federal troops in our immediate 
front were advancing, and 1 knew that in a few minutes 
they would meet the skirmishers of our rear guard. 1 knew 
that if such a meeting occurred, to use a common expression, 
" the fat would be in the fire," so far as a suspension of 
hostilities was concerned, 

I therefore told Colonel Whittier the purport of the letter 
I had given him, and expressed the hope that hostihties 
might be suspended until it could reach General Grant. 
Colonel Whittier left me, taking General Lee's letter to 
General Grant with him, and saying that he would answer 
my request for a suspension of hostilities as soon as he could 
submit it to his commanding officer. 

He soon returne^-atrd told me that he had reported my 
request that hostilities be suspended pending the correspond- 
ence, but that he had been directed to say that an attack 


had been ordered, and that the officer in command of the 
force in our rear had no discretion. He added that General 
Grant had left General Meade some time before, and that 
General Lee's letter could not reach him in time to receive 
orders as to the intended attack. 

I expressed my regret and asked him to request the officer 
commanding the troops then moving to the attack to read 
General Lee's letter to General Grant, saying that perhaps 
that officer v/ould feel authorized under the circumstances 
to suspend the movement and avoid the useless sacrifice of 

1 have said that as General Lee passed through his rear 
guard on his way to the place where the conference I have 
mentioned took place the men cheered him as of old. They 
were the flower of the old Army of Northern Virginia, and 
I felt quite sure that if the officer commanding the advanc- 
ing Federal troops should consider himself bound by his 
orders to refuse my request for a suspension of hostilities 
until General Lee's letter could reach General Grant the 
rear guard of the Army of Northern Virginia would secure 
all the time necessary. 

Colonel Whittier again returned to the Federal lines and 
when he came back informed me that General Meade had 
read the letter of General Lee and had agreed to suspend 
operations for one hour. 

General Lee then returned to the front and with General 
Longstreet proceeded to a small orchard on the foot of the 
hill on which the line of battle was formed, where he awaited 
the reply of General Grant. He sent a formal request for a 
suspension of hostilities into the Federal lines. As he was 
much fatigued, a rude couch was prepared under an apple 
tree, upon which he reclined until the approach of a flag of 
truce from the Federal line in our front was announced. 


Soon afterwards Colonel Babcock of General Grant's 
staff was conducted to the presence of General Lee and 
delivered to him the following letter : — 

April 9, 1865. 
General R. E. Lee, Commanding Confederate States Armies. 
Your note of this date is but this moment (11.59 a. m.) 
received. In consequence of my having passed from the 
Richmond and Lynchburg road to the Farmville and Lynch- 
burg road, I am at this writing about four miles west of 
Walker's Church, and will push forward to the front for the 
purpose of meeting you. Notice sent to me on this road 
where you wish the interview to take place will meet me. 

U. S. Grant, Lieut.-General. 

Colonel Babcock told General Lee that he had been sent 
forward by General Grant with instructions to make any 
arrangements for the meeting that General Lee desired 
within the Federal or Confederate lines. 

General Lee dirrected me to accompany him, with one 
orderly, and immediately mounting his horse rode with 
Colonel Babcock toward Appomattox Courthouse. 

We passed through an infantry force in front of the 
village, and General Lee directed me to find a suitable place 
for the meeting. I rode forward and asked the first citizen 
I met to direct me to a house suitable for the purpose. I 
learned afterward that the citizen was Mr. McLean, who had 
lived on the battle-field of Bull Run, but had removed to 
Appomattox Courthouse to get out of the way of the war. 
Mr. McLean conducted me to an unoccupied and unfurnished 
house, in a very bad state of repair. I told him that it was 
not suitable, and he then offered his own house, to which he 
conducted me. 


I found a room suitable for the purpose in view and sent 
back the orderly who had accompanied me to direct General 
Lee and Colonel Babcock to the house. 

They came in presently and Colonel Babcock said that, as 
General Grant was approaching on the road in front of the 
house, it would only be necessary for him to leave an 
orderly to direct him to the place of meeting. 

General Lee, Colonel Babcock and myself sat in the parlor 
for about half an hour, when a large party of mounted men 
arrived, and in a few minutes General Grant came into the 
room, accompanied by his staff and a number of Federal 
officers of rank, among whom was General Ord and Gen- 
eral Sheridan. 

General Grant greeted General Lee very civilly, and they 
engaged for a short time about their former acquaintance 
during the Mexican War. 

Some other Federal officers took part in the conversation, 
which was terminated by General Lee saying to General 
Grant that he had come to discuss the terms of the surrender 
of his army, as indicated in his note of that morning, and he 
suggested to General Grant to reduce his proposition to 

General Grant assented and Colonel Parker of his staff 
moved a small table from the opposite side of the room and 
placed it by General Grant, who sat facing General Lee. 

When General Grant had written his letter in pencil he 
took it to General Lee, who remained seated. 

General Lee read the letter and called General Grant's 
attention to the fact that he required the surrender of the 
horses of the cavalry as if they were public horses. He told 
General Grant that Confederate cavalrymen owned their 
horses, and that they would need them for planting a spring 
crop. General Grant at once accepted the suggestion and 


interlined the provision allowing the retention by the men 
of the horses that belonged to them. 

The terms of the letter having been agreed to, General 
Grant directed Colonel Parker to make a copy of it in ink, 
and General Lee directed me to write his acceptance. 

Colonel Parker took the light table upon which General 
Grant had been writing to the opposite corner of the room, 
and 1 accompanied him. There was an inkstand in the room, 
but the ink was so thick that it was of no use. I had a 
small boxwood inkstand which I always carried, and I gave 
it, with my pen, to Colonel Parker, who proceeded to copy 
General Grant's letter. 

While he was so engaged I sat near the end of the sofa on 
which General Sheridan was sitting and we entered into 
conversation. In the midst of it General Grant, who sat 
nearly diagonally across the room and was talking with Gen- 
eral Lee, turned to General Sheridan and said: 

" General Sheridan, General Lee tells me that he has some 
1,200 of our people prisoners, who are sharing with his men, 
and that none of them have anything to eat. How many 
rations can you spare?" 
General Sheridan replied, " About 25,000." 
General Grant turned to General Lee and said, ''General, 
will that be enough ? " 
General Lee replied. " More than enough." 
Thereupon General Grant said to General Sheridan, 
" Direct your commissary to send 25,000 rations to General 
Lee's commissary." 

; General Sheridan at once sent an officer to give the 
necessary orders. 

When Colonel Parker had concluded the copying of 
General Grant's letter 1 sat down at the same little table and 
wrote General Lee's answer. 


I have yet in my possession the original draft of that 
answer. It began : 

" I have the honour to acknowledge." (General Lee 
struck out those words and made the answer read as it now 
appears. His reason was that the correspondence ought not 
to appear as if he and General Grant were not in immediate 
communication.) When General Grant had signed the 
copy of his letter made by Colonel Parker and General Lee 
had signed the answer, Colonel Parker handed to me Gen- 
eral Grant's letter and I handed to him General Lee's reply 
and the work was done. Some further conversation of a 
general nature took place, in the course of which General 
Grant said to General Lee that he had come to the meeting 
as he was and without his sword, because he did not wish to 
detain General Lee until he could send back to his wagons, 
which were several miles away. 

This was the only reference made by any one to the sub- 
ject of dress on that occasion. 

General Lee had prepared himself for the meeting with 
more than usual care, and was in full uniform, wearing a 
very handsome sword and sash. This was doubtless the 
reason of General Grant's reference to himself. 

At last General Lee took leave of General Grant, saying 
that he would return to his headquarters and designate the 
officers who were to act on our side in arranging the details 
of the surrender. We mounted our horses, which the orderly 
was holding in the yard, and rode away, a number of Fed- 
eral officers standing on the porch in front of the house 
looking at us. 

When General Lee returned to his lines a large number of 
men gathered around him, to whom he announced what had 
taken place and the causes that had rendered the surrender 


Great emotion was manifested by officers and men, but 
love and sympathy for their commander mastered every 
other feeling. 

According to the report of the chief of ordnance less than 
8,000 armed men surrendered exclusive of the cavalry. The 
others who were present were unarmed, having been unable 
to carry their arms from exhaustion and hunger. Many 
had fallen from the ranks during the arduous march, and 
unarmed men continued to arrive for several days after the 
surrender, swelling the number of paroled prisoners greatly 
beyond the actual effective force. 

I have thus given you an exact narrative of the circum- 
stances attending the surrender of General Lee's army, as 
far as they fell under my observation. I have endeavoured 
to give the facts as they occurred without comment and ex- 
cluding everything not immediately connected with the 
great event, believing that it possesses sufficient interest in 
itself to render comment unnecessary, if not inappropriate. 


013 708 887 3 












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